Is Another Company Using Your Trademark Or Company Name?

Is another company benefiting from the use of your trademark or company name? Confused about what steps you can take to remedy the infringement? When trademark infringement is an attempt to profit by producing inferior, low-cost, look-alike products, a company must aggressively litigate to protect its trademark and company name from unfair competition.

Safeguarding your intellectual property is a complex process that is best handled with the help of an experienced and knowledgeable trademark attorney. Paul C. VanSlyke understands that your trademark and company name are critical to the success of your business. He has negotiated and litigated contentious trademark cases in multiple forums, including the administrative agency level, state and federal courts. Call his office in Houston at 713-364-0730 to schedule a consultation.

What Happens At The Trademark Trial And Appeal Board?

Parties are permitted to cancel trademark registrations and oppose them after being granted. There are two forums for litigating trademarks. One is the courts, the other is the administrative agency level before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB).

The TTAB decides contested cases for registration and cancellation of federally registered trademarks. If not withdrawn or settled, trial cases can take up to three years for a decision to be issued. However, in some cases, TTAB will permit use of an Accelerated Case Resolution procedure (ACR), which can cut the time to decision to about 15 months. He has experience with the Accelerated Case Procedure. Mr. VanSlyke can help you file an opposition or cancellation action before TTAB with:

  • Interrogatories
  • Document requests
  • Depositions
  • Written briefs
  • Using the accelerated case resolution procedure

Trials are not always face to face. Cases before the TTAB are often argued via video and with written evidence without live witnesses. The resulting decision will be that either the trademark will be issued, prevented from issue or canceled if registered. There is no monetary relief sought or granted at this level. Monetary and injunctive relief may be sought only in a lawsuit in the federal district court.

Understanding Viable Defenses To Trademark Infringement Allegations

Sometimes confusion in the marketplace is by mistake. It is possible to negotiate a mutually beneficial resolution such as granting trademark license rights within a limited geographic area. Disputes can arise between parties acting in good faith where there is an honest question about protected rights. Parties accused of trademark infringement can assert defenses such as:

  • The trademark is not worthy of protection — Defendants can challenge the issue of a trademark, asking the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to review or cancel the mark. Such petitions are based on evidence showing the trademark is too weak to deserve protection. It could be too weak because it is merely descriptive or is generic.
  • The trademark is no longer protected — Trademark protections expire if a company stops using their trademark or the public no longer associates the mark with the company's product.
  • There is no trademark infringement — Trademarks sometimes can be similar without presenting actionable infringement.

Call Today For Cost Effective Trademark And Unfair Competition Litigation

Paul C. VanSlyke, Senior Counsel at Hoover Slovacek LLP, represents corporate and business clients as plaintiffs and defendants in trademark infringement cases in Texas, throughout the United States and internationally. To schedule a consultation with an experienced brand law and intellectual property lawyer, call him at 713-364-0730 or complete the online form.